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Poker Stories Podcast: Linda Johnson

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Feb 28, 2018

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Poker Stories is a long-form audio series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Age: 64
From: Long Island, New York
Accomplishments: Tournament Directors Association Founder and former Board Member, Poker Hall of Fame (2011), WPT Honors Award Winner (2017)
Best Live Tournament Score: 1997 WSOP – 1st Place – Razz $96,000

The Highlights

On her father’s influence on her career…

“When I turned 21, I really wanted to gamble. I’m not sure where that came from because up until that point, I wasn’t extremely adventurous. I didn’t have the gambling gene, but all of a sudden, I went to Las Vegas for the first time, played blackjack and loved it, and started commuting to Vegas. My dad said, ‘look, if you’re going to gamble, you need to play poker because with poker you can win and you aren’t playing against the house.’ I had never even played a hand of poker until I was 21. “

On an embarrassing experience at the tables…

“I was playing on the WPT Ladies Night, and we were down to heads-up. It got down to Kristy Gazes and myself. During the heads-up interview, all of a sudden, right in the middle of it, I get a hot flash. Men don’t have to relate to this, but there is nothing you can do when you get a hot flash, you are just going to break into a sweat. So the hostess is interviewing me and she says, ‘Linda, it looks like you’ve broken into a sweat all of a sudden. Are you nervous?’ And I said, ‘No, you’ll get old someday too.’ Thankfully heads-up only lasted eight hands, but if you go back and look you can see that there’s a towel on my lap. They did a good job of editing around it, but it was a nightmare for me.”

On her three principles of poker…

“You [sometimes] feel bad, but you respect the game. My job is to win money. I don’t show favoritism at the table. I will check-raise my best friend, and I have check-raised my mother. But when it’s someone who is older and maybe not as capable as the other players, they are going to lose their money. The only justification I have is that at least I’m going to respect them. I’m not going to take their money and laugh. I always have three principles when I go to play. My objectives, of course, are to win money, have a good time, and make sure my opponents have a good time. All three of those are very important to me.” ♠

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to play on the go from iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring Daniel Negreanu, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moorman, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Greg Raymer, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.